The Montessori Foundation, Inc.
19600 State Road 64 East
Bradenton FL 34212-8921

The mission of The Montessori Foundation is to inspire, nurture, and support the development of strong Montessori schools worldwide, with programs serving children from the infant and toddler level through high school. We work to advance Montessori education in the United States and abroad.

The Foundation works with educational leaders, teachers, and school board members to promote the insights and educational approach pioneered by Dr. Maria Montessori, the world-famous physician who pioneered modern brain research and began a revolution in educational reform around the world

The Montessori Foundation also serves as a source of information, advice, and assistance to parents who are interested in Montessori education, or who have children currently attending Montessori schools.

Montessori represents a distinctly different educational approach that has proven to be highly effective, replicable, adaptable, and sustainable around the world. The name Montessori is well known, but many Americans are just now becoming aware of the size of the movement and its growing support among leading proponents of meaningful educational reform.

Montessori schools begin with children when they are very young, nurturing their intelligence, creativity, and imagination. Our programs are highly flexible, allowing children to learn at their own pace, in ways that adapt to their individual learning styles. Montessori is successful with a wide-range of learners, including the highly gifted.

There are more than 5,000 Montessori schools in the United States, and it is estimated that there are some 50,000 world-wide. This number is rapidly expanding.

Montessori schools are known for developing young people who have developed a passion for learning, a strong sense of independence and responsibility, a global perspective, and a tradition of giving back to their communities. Montessori graduates include the founders of many of the world’s most successful companies (Google, Amazon, and America On Line (AOL) to name just three), and many other well-known figures in science, technology, and the arts.

CEO/Executive Director Joyce St. Giermaine JD
Board Chair Timothy David Seldin M.Ed.
Board Chair Affiliation Seldin Family Limited Partnership, International Montessori Council
General Info
Organization DBA
The Montessori Foundation
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1992
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Jan 2019
State Registration Yes 0
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement
Major programs:

The NewGate School in Sarasota is our Lab School. It serves as a national center for program and curriculum development. It is a fully accredited international Montessori academy for students from age 18 months through the 12th grade. It offers the first Montessori-International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in Florida. Over the years, NewGate has continued to draw hundreds of families to Sarasota because of its international reputation and ties to the Montessori Foundation.

The Center for Montessori Leadership runs a wide-range of programs of professional development for Montessori school administrators.

Our Publications Center offers professional resources for Montessori educators, many of which are authored by our staff.

We publish Tomorrow’s Child magazine for Montessori families. It is read by more than 5,500 Montessori schools and 30,000 subscribers around the world.

Montessori Family Life - A national program aimed at supporting positive family life and values.

International conferences for Montessori educators: Our annual international conference is held in Sarasota every November.

School Consultation: We provide expert guidance in the formation of new schools, new program development, strategic planning, facilities design, and preparation for accreditation.

Curriculum and Program Development for Montessori Schools: The Foundation places special focus on international studies, Arts immersion programs, second language study, organic school garden programs, teaching philosophy and ethics to young children, peace education in schools, and the development of Montessori middle and high schools.

The Montessori Education Research Institute conducts ongoing studies into the outcomes of Montessori education and the success of Montessori graduates.
The Montessori Academy for Peace offers program of retreats, workshops, and symposia for educators on issues specifically connected to the development of Peaceful Children, Peaceful Families, and Peaceful School Communities.

The International Montessori Council is our membership and school accreditation arm. We publish its professional journal, Montessori Leadership.

We maintain an Online Directory of Montessori Schools.
Needs Statement
Initial funding for a Director of Development to provide leadership in applying for grants, annual, and capital campaigns: $75,000/first year.
Funding assistance for the establishment of a Center for Secondary Montessori Education, which will develop comprehensive international Montessori middle and high school curriculum, assist schools in organizing new Montessori secondary programs, and prepare secondary Montessori educators and program coordinators to integrate Montessori principles with the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program: $150,000. 
Funding Assistance for the Montessori Education Research Institute  to conduct Longitudinal Studies on the Benefits of Montessori Education, prepare and disseminate a yearbook of peer reviewed research on the outcomes of Montessori education:  $150,000.
Background Statement
The Montessori Foundation was established in 1992 as a 501(c)3 non-profit by several leaders of the American Montessori Society to create an independent source of assistance, encouragement, and support for the international Montessori community.

The Montessori Foundation reflects a heritage of international education and a commitment to the highest standards of Montessori program and curriculum development, the implementation of cutting edge educational technology, and a return to Dr. Montessori's focus on building a better world by helping children discover their capacity to live in peace, learn without boundaries, and discover the joy of friendships and community

Today the Montessori Foundation works with more than 5,000 Montessori schools in over 50 countries. The Foundation sponsors programs that assist educators, government agencies, universities, researchers, and families.

Established in Washington, DC, the Montessori Foundation moved its offices to Sarasota in 1999 because of the unique character of the community, and because of its partnership with the NewGate School.
Areas Served
Areas Served
Areas Served Comments We work with Montessori schools worldwide and collaborate, where possible, with other NGOs to assist in the formation and promotion of Montessori schools and partnership-based education.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Education
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type Education
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
After a career in Montessori education, several of us who have been leaders in the American Montessori Society established the Montessori Foundation to provide resources and support to Montessori school leaders and boards, and publications and resources that would help parents and the general public to better understand and appreciate the very positive outcomes of Montessori education.

Our initial goal was to create an organization that would be small, self-sustaining, and independent from the several Montessori societies to which schools may belong.

We began with a small board, and over the years have enjoyed stability and clarity of vision and mission thanks to the continuity of our governance model.  Now, after twenty years of considerable positive contribution to Montessori schools in North America and beyond, we are beginning to look to the future. We plan to expand our board, reevaluate our existing programs and systems, and prepare for continuity and expansion in the years ahead.

A second goal is to begin a program of institutional development to establish a community of funding support that will allow The Montessori Foundation to continue and expand its work.

The Montessori Foundation has been governed and led in ways that are unconventional, but which allowed us to accomplish a great deal of good in our first twenty-two years.

Tim Seldin
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
The Montessori Method was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). It is not a franchise; even the name ‘Montessori’ was never protected by copyright.
Although Dr. Montessori’s core principles remain the foundation of her
educational approach, adaptations have occurred over the years, which resulted in the creation of a number of Montessori organizations, each with varying degrees of agreement and disagreement about the manner in which Montessori should be presented, As a result, the professional Montessori community became divisive and confusing, especially to parents.

The Montessori Foundation was created to be inclusive rather than exclusive. By acknowledging Montessori in its many forms, the Foundation sought to identify ‘common ground’ and standards which all Montessori schools could agree represented ‘authentic’ Montessori best practice. In so doing, the Foundation sought to raise the standards for all Montessori schools, regardless of affiliation, while also educating parents and the public about how to recognize a school that was true to a set of values of the Montessori Method.

In the beginning years, the Foundation had no paid employees. Even 22 years later, we have only six full-time employees, and we all wear many hats. Most of us have been involved with the Foundation almost from its inception.

Most Montessori schools are small, independent, and underfunded, especially during our nation’s current economic situation. For many parents, the quickest expense they can reduce from their budget is private education. Although The Montessori Foundation is not a funding source, we do provide products and services to Montessori schools to help them develop strategies to see opportunities during this time of great financial challenge.

We know that most Montessori schools have been severely impacted by the recession, and we are committed to keeping our products and services affordable. Of course, the Foundation, which is funded by Montessori schools, has also been severely impacted by the economy, and we have had to tighten our belt as well.
One of the ironic ‘advantages’ of managing our lab school, NewGate, is that we are living the same challenges as most of the schools we serve. When we offer advice, it is based on reality and often trial and error. We share this information with every Montessori school in the US and Canada free of charge, because our commitment is to improve Montessori schools and help them grow and thrive. Their success really is the measurement of the Foundation’s success.

—Joyce St. Giermaine, Executive Director
Description Through the International Center for Secondary Montessori Education, we have begun to develop and disseminate comprehensive international Montessori middle and high school curriculum, assist schools in organizing new Montessori secondary programs, and prepare secondary Montessori educators and program coordinators to integrate Montessori principles with the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.  Thus far our progress has been limited by budget. We need to bring on part-time a project coordinator and several additional curriculum experts.
Budget $150,000
Category Education, General/Other Curriculum Development
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served US& International Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Short Term Success Once established, this international center should gain support from both local and national funding sources that are focused on educational innovation and school reform. The formation of the Montessori-IB program at the NewGate School will be yet another draw to attract well-educated families to Sarasota from across the United States and abroad.
Long Term Success We have advised 25 Montessori schools as they have developed Montessori middle and high school programs that are recognized by the International Baccalaureate Organization. Because each school was working independently, any curriculum developed and program development strategies are available to be shared with other schools, and no secondary Montessori teacher education program has been developed to help prepare teachers to work within this model. Using Sarasota's NewGate School as our Lab School, the Montessori Foundation has coordinated program design and development, and NewGate is now  authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Funds are needed to help us to cover the cost of preparing a secondary Montessori curriculum, documentation of the process, and the organization and accreditation of a Montessori secondary teacher education program that will be centered in Sarasota. Once completed, the program and curriculum will be disseminated to Montessori schools in the US and abroad, and the teacher education program will begin to prepare Montessori secondary teachers and program coordinators. We anticipate that we will be able to assist in the development of 100 new Montessori-IB high schools by 2020, serving between 100 and 300 students per program. Locally, this process will bear fruit in the Montessori-IB Middle and High School and IB Diploma Program at The NewGate School. We will assist in the development of new public or charter Montessori-IB programs in the Gulf Coast Region initially, while we help existing Montessori schools to extend up through the secondary level. We hope to prepare 40 Coordinating Teachers in 2015, and steadily expand to additional sites in the US and other countries as needed.
Program Success Monitoring
  • The Montessori Foundation
  • The International Montessori Council
  • The Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education 
  • The International Baccalaureate Organization 
Program Success Examples
Program success will be measured in several ways:
The number of schools that apply for and complete the process, earning both International Montessori Council recognition as a Montessori secondary program and  International Baccalaureate Organization recognition for the IB Diploma Program.
The percentage of eligible seniors who earn the International Baccalaureate Organization Diploma.
The Montessori Foundation will monitor the establishment of Montessori-International Baccalaureate secondary grades 7-12 programs in each school by progress reports, documentation of curriculum development, faculty completion of the new secondary Montessori and IB professional development programs, weekly Skype meetings with program coordinators and key faculty. 
The International Montessori Council will require the schools to complete extensive self-study and provide curriculum and program documentation, and will send an independent onsite team to each school for verification. 

This multi-phase program will significantly contribute to the body of knowledge in the Montessori research field in the following 3 areas:

1) Academic Growth within the framework of the Montessori Scope & Sequence.

2) Academic Growth within the framework of the universally understood educational goals as outlined in the Common Core State Standards.

3) Non-academic Growth in the Montessori environment (Executive Function/Grit)*

*We are pleased to be working with Angela Duckworth’s team as they are experts in the field of research on development and assessment of “Grit.”


We expect to establish an initial data pool of over 10,000 students at public and independent Montessori schools across the United States. The students will be followed during the years while they attend Montessori programs with ongoing longitudinal follow up into adulthood. 
Full details of action steps are incorporated in the Foundation's strategic plan. 
Budget $250,000
Category Education, General/Other Educational Research
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) US& International Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success Short-term deliverables from this study will be an extensive data pool of classroom observation and teacher generated assessment of children in Montessori classrooms. This will represent a larger sample than anything currently available to researchers.
Long Term Success Data collected will  support comparative qualitative and quantitative research into the effectiveness of Montessori education, by filling a noted gap in current published research.
Program Success Monitoring As a raw data source this program will include project evaluation measures as part of the initial pilot program.
Program Success Examples The program has just started. Success will be measured in terms of the uses to which this data is put by researchers.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Joyce St. Giermaine JD
CEO Term Start Sept 1992
CEO/Executive Director Email

As a founding member of The Montessori Foundation, I have served as Executive Director for the past 20 years. I am also the Editor of Tomorrow’s Child and Montessori Leadership.

I have a BS in Political Science from the American University’s School of Government and Public Administration (Washington, DC),  I graduated at the age of 21 and then spent the next five years working for various non-profits in the Washington, DC area.
At the age of 26, I returned to school to pursue a law degree at Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law (Washington, DC). I completed my degree and became a member of the Maryland Bar Association. My legal experience focused on banking, serving as in-house legal counsel for savings and loan institutions. Ultimately, I was employed by the State of Maryland as onsite legal counsel for S&L’s that were impacted by the Savings and Loan crisis that took place in the 1980s
I returned to graduate school and obtained certification as an editor, graphic designer, and fundraiser from George Washington University (Washington, DC). Over the next decade, I worked for various non-profits in Washington, DC.
I enrolled my two children in Montessori at the ages of two and three, and they both stayed through the eighth grade. My son is now a Montessori teacher, and my daughter is a forensic psychologist, so I have first-hand experience that Montessori works. Since 1992, I’ve been Executive Director of The Montessori Foundation, and I have done virtually every job here except teach in a classroom.

To serve as Executive Director of a small non-profit, no matter what degrees we’ve earned, the most important qualifications are: a sense of humor; the tenacity to continue to root for the underdog; and a steadfast belief that what you are doing can change the world for the better.

 —Joyce St. Giermaine JD, Executive Director
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Sharon Caldwell Program Officer
Don Dinsmore Business Manager
Hillary Drinkell Program Officer
Margot Garfield-Anderson Conference & Publications Coordinator
Daniel Robinson Howe IIIschool coordination
Lorna McGrath M.A.Director of Family Resources
Tim Seldin Senior Consultant/President
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 6
Part Time Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 1
Volunteers 300
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No
The International Montessori Council, the National Montessori Leadership Collaborative, North American Montessori Teachers Association, American Montessori Society, South African Montessori Association, Association Montessori Internationale, Montessori Australia Council, St Nicholas Charity (UK), Montessori Council of Poland.
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years 2
Strategic Plan Adopted Sept 2013
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Management Comments by Organization

The Montessori Foundation manages many, many projects throughout the world with just six full-time employees. This is only possible because we have employees who are self-starters and do not need to be managed. We also have a wonderful community of volunteers in the USA and abroad.


Even the best multi-taskers, however, reach the point where it becomes too much of a challenge to keep all the balls in the air at the same time, and that is the situation in which the Foundation now finds itself.


Six years ago, the Foundation was asked to assume leadership the NewGate School (Sarasota, FL). This has proven to be a significant strain on the Foundation’s management team. Instead of being a source of new revenue, the school’s severely compromised financial situation required the services of more members of the Foundation’s top staff members  than expected, and also required a significant financial infusion from the Foundation in order to survive. The NewGate School has been re-stabilized and is doing very well once more.


Now we are turning our attention to a major research project and support for the development of secondary Montessori schools and teacher preparation. Each will make major contributions to the advancement of Montessori education in the United States and abroad.  

In recent years, the focus on improving American education has been more directive than developmental. Current policies have led to a culture that encourage teaching to arbitrary standards over student-centered learning, more time on task and busywork over creative problem solving. Schools have organize learning in ways that diminish the relationship of the student and teacher and that put a significant amount of deleterious stress on each. We put the teacher in sole control of how much to challenge young people, rather than giving children the opportunity to truly test themselves.

It is no surprise that the majority of today’s students are not ready for college, careers, or citizenship. Our content-driven, test-obsessed, teacher-directed system is not producing the independent, self-motivated, mature problem solvers we want our graduates to be.


To optimize learning, we need to provide high-quality learning opportunities for children beginning in the earliest years and develop all of their capabilities, including the social and emotional competencies which give children the capability to pursue their academic interests and build the personal resources they need to manage increasingly complex and stressful lives. And we need to support active, positive, student-centered learning environments that connect children to the world and each other and that foster a love of learning and respect for others that will carry throughout their lives.

To visualize a new direction, we do not have to look far. Montessori education is the fastest growing approach to learning in the world. It exemplifies what research on early childhood education and brain science says is most effective for young children through high school, and it can be scaled up to serve a much larger proportion of children nationwide.
This is our mission.
—Joyce St. Giermaine, Executive Director
Board Chair
Board Chair Timothy David Seldin M.Ed.
Company Affiliation Seldin Family Limited Partnership, International Montessori Council
Board Term Nov 2017 to Oct 2018
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Dr. Chelsea Jillian Howe Psy.DPsychologist
Mary Kathleen Leitch Renaissance Montessori School
Timothy D Seldin International Montessori Council
Joyce St. Giermaine JDThe Montessori Foundation
Dr. Valaida Wise Ed.D.The Harbor School, Bethesda, Maryland
Jonathan Wolff Learning for Life
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 5
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 2
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 88
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Governance Comments by Organization

The Montessori Foundation’s most compelling challenge and opportunity is to transition from its small, closely held founding board to a larger, more energized, and diverse board that will help the Foundation prepare for the organization’s next generation of leadership.

When the Foundation was organized in 1992, it was so small and so underfunded that nobody (except those few of us) ever thought it could possibly succeed. 


What we suspected, and then discovered was accurate, was that the vast majority of Montessori schools in the US do not belong to any Montessori organization. They are usually small, independent schools that were founded as a gift of love by teachers who became parents and then wanted a school for their children. Most of these schools cannot satisfy the administrative, teacher certification, or financial requirements to belong to any of the training-specific Montessori organizations.


The Foundation provided an alternative and discovered a large, unrepresented group of schools that clearly appreciated a chance to participate with other schools and gain from the wisdom of their cumulative challenges and opportunities.


The Foundation launched its first project in 1992 with publication of Tomorrow’s Child and the help of a volunteer graphic designer and volunteer photographer. We were located in the Washington, DC area, and the most affordable printer we found was in West Virginia. A pick-up truck would arrive at the front door of my house, and my children and I would address the magazines, prepare the huge bulk-mail sacks, haul them to the post office, find out we had sorted and labeled them all wrong, and then sit on the loading dock and re-do the whole project.


Twenty years later, we now have six full-time employees and the same board, but we are all so hands-on that every day is a board meeting, and our staff serves as our ex-officio Executive Committee.


When the Montessori Foundation reassumed leadership of the NewGate School in 2010, and, at the same time, began to expand its work in education public policy advocacy and organization at the state level, it became clear that we had crossed a threshold. We need new blood, new energy, new ideas, and more board members, who can give us the objective perspective we need to go forward.


We have begun the process of identifying and approaching prospective members. This is an important step for us, and we are working through the process slowly and carefully. 


—Joyce St. Giermaine, Executive Director
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2018
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $967,476.00
Projected Expenses $1,023,704.00
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$931,133$1,011,828$812,785
Administration Expense$38,768$42,134$210,919
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.960.910.95
Program Expense/Total Expenses96%96%79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$285,378$303,412$299,867
Current Assets$243,335$261,370$44,961
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$45,272
Current Liabilities$138,350$209,651$83,895
Total Net Assets$147,028$93,761$170,700
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountManagement Fees $294,158Publications and Periodicals $428,532Periodicals and Subscriptions $346,141
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountConferences and Workshops $186,488Workshops and Conferences $145,782Management and Consulting $284,871
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountPublications and Periodicals $252,737Consulting Fees $67,224Workshops and Conferences $229,015
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $150,001 - $175,000
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.761.250.54
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%15%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization The Montessori Foundation faces the same challenges as other non-profits in our globally compromised economy. Because of our reliance on independent Montessori schools, the Foundation is especially challenged. Many Montessori schools have had to shut their doors over the past five years, and we are just now starting to see new interest in start-up schools and an increase in requests for the Foundation’s products and services.
In addition, The Foundation has almost completely diminished its endowment in response to decreased income, rising operating expenses, and the decision to loan money to the NewGate School to allow it to remain viable. 
As the economy seems to be stabilizing, we are now receiving requests for consulting services, a source of income that had virtually disappeared over the past few years. We are optimistic by the number of inquiries we have received lately, and we hope that this will represent a long-term trend.
Although we have received donations in the past, we have never actively solicited funding through fundraising campaigns or grant requests. We have always prided ourselves in being self-sufficient, but with the expanded scope of our anticipated new programs, it seems that it is now time to seek help from other entities that share our interests and concerns for the future of education.
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from IRS Form 990.  Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support.  Federal tax returns and financial compilations, where provided, did not reconcile.  Financial information for 2015 and 2016 taken solely from the unaudited compilations as the Federal tax returns were not available at time of review.
Nonprofit The Montessori Foundation, Inc.
Address 19600 State Road 64 East
Bradenton, FL 34250 8921
Phone 941 729-9565